FEATURE19 January 2016

Big data has changed our role

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Data analytics Features Impact UK

The rise of big data has meant market researchers now need to be curators of a wider range of data sources to deliver insights to clients says Corinne Moy in the latest 70th anniversary article.

Since the turn of the century, there has been an explosion in the availability of data, both inside and outside client organisations. The growth in capacity and flexibility of computing has allowed businesses to harness this information in ways that weren’t possible in the past. So now a wide range of data is available to our clients, from which they can extract insight and business intelligence – from CRM and transactional data through to point-of-sale data and radio frequency identification (RFID).

Meanwhile, the digitisation of society has created hitherto undreamed of activities and concomitant behavioural traces – social media data, such as blogs, videos, photos; mobile and location data; digital behavioural data; and e-commerce data. 

These developments have led to a fundamental change in the research industry. When I joined it in the early 1990s, we were all about designing, executing and reporting on surveys. But the explosion in data and digitisation has meant clients’ expectations have changed. Rather than ...